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Press Release

Sureño Street Gang Members Federally Indicted For Racketeering And Murder

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

SAN FRANCISCO – Yesterday, a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted 14 members of the 19th Street Sureños gang and the associated 16th Street Sureños gang with a variety of charges, including racketeering and murder, announced United States Attorney Melinda and Clark Settles, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Francisco.

Thirteen of the defendants were arrested on March 12, 2014, in a joint law enforcement operation that took place in San Francisco and Daly City, Calif. Agents and investigators from HSI and San Francisco Police Department, with assistance from U.S. Secret Service and Daly City Police Department, arrested all of the named defendants but Alberto Torres, who is expected to be taken into custody shortly.

The 14 defendants are charged in a 16-count indictment issued by the grand jury on March 6, 2014, and unsealed earlier yesterday. The 13 defendants in federal custody made their initial appearances yesterday before the Honorable Nathanael Cousins, United States Magistrate Court Judge.

Named in the indictment are:

  1. Eduardo Alvarez, a/k/a “Clumsy,” 25, of San Francisco;
  2. Elias Chavez, a/k/a “Kiko,” 26, of San Francisco;
  3. Luis Cid-Salinas, a/k/a “Lonely,” 29, of San Francisco;
  4. Ignacio Cruz, a/k/a “Nacho,” 24, of San Francisco;
  5. Juan Carlos Garcia-Gomez, a/k/a “Lil Ghost,” 27, of San Francisco;
  6. Jairo Hernandez, a/k/a “Joker,” 33, of San Francisco;
  7. Orlando Carlos Hernandez, a/k/a “Chisto,” 31, of Oakland;
  8. Jusef Nathan, a/k/a “Boo,” 35, of San Francisco;
  9. Rogelio Real, a/k/a “Payaso,” 29, of San Francisco;
  10. Mario Serrano, a/k/a “Caballo,” 31, of San Francisco;
  11. Alberto Torres, a/k/a “Taz,” 32, of San Francisco;
  12. Carlos Vasquez, a/k/a “Malo,” 26, of San Francisco;
  13. Weston Venegas, a/k/a “Cartoon,” 24, of Daly City; and
  14. Michael Viera, a/k/a “Lil Rocks” or “Rocks,” 24, of San Francisco.

All 14 defendants are charged with racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, and conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, arising from the defendants’ participation as members and associates in the racketeering enterprise alleged as the 19th Street Sureños. They are also charged with using firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence. According to the indictment, the 19th Street Sureños gang constitutes a racketeering enterprise and its members and associates agreed to conduct the affairs of the enterprise through, among other crimes, murder, robbery, narcotics trafficking, obstruction of justice, and tampering with witnesses.

Two of the 14 racketeering defendants – Jairo Hernandez and Carlos Vasquez – are also charged with one count of murder in aid of racketeering committed on August 30, 2011. Two other defendants – Ignacio Cruz and Elias Chavez – are charged with four counts of attempted murder on January 4, 2014. Defendants Albert Torres and Michael Viera are charged with two counts each of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering on May 31, 2013. Defendant Eduardo Alvarez is charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, in connection with an incident on September 1, 2013, and an incident on September 8, 2013.

All 14 defendants face up to life in prison, while Jairo Hernandez and Carlos Vasquez are subject to the death penalty.

Any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). In addition, although Jairo Hernandez and Carlos Vasquez are eligible for the death penalty for their participation in the August 30, 2011, murder, the decision whether to seek the death penalty against either of them is pending.

Andrew M. Scoble is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Christine Tian and Ponly Tu. This prosecution is the result of an investigation initiated by HSI and the San Francisco Police Department in 2010. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and HSI Special Agent in Charge Settles would also like to thank the U.S. Marshals Service for its assistance.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, the defendants in this case must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

(Sureños indictment )



Updated November 18, 2014